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InfoTrends: 9.5 Million Digital Cameras To Ship

Boston – The consumer digital camera market is poised to sell 9.5 million units in North America in 2002, according to a new report from InfoTrends Research, a market research firm.

The report, titled 2002 Low End Digital Camera Forecast, tracks low-end digital cameras (classified as cameras under $1000) and noted that unit sales are expected to grow at a compound annual rate of 15 percent to 18.7 million units in 2007.

As for market revenue, InfoTrends claimed that it is growing at a compound annual rate of 3 percent to $3.6 billion in 2007.

‘The consumer digital camera market in North America will maintain steady growth through the forecast period and surpass film camera sales, because many consumers are expected to purchase a new digital camera rather than replace a film camera,’ said Michelle Slaughter, market research analyst.

Slaughter continued, ‘Consumers desire the ability to instantly view and share their photos, a key benefit of digital camera ownership. Additionally, within the forecast period, consumers will begin to utilize the variety of high-quality digital photo printing products and services available to them, which is expected to encourage even more mainstream consumers to adopt digital cameras.’

In 2002, InfoTrends expects the average price of digital cameras to decrease 11 percent from $378 in 2001 to $336. Key factors expected to influence the average price over the forecast period include mass-market adoption, reduced manufacturing costs, and availability of lower cost components. Cheaper components, such as CMOS image sensors and LCD image displays, are critical to achieving higher performance at lower price points, the firm said.

Within the category, 2-megapixel cameras were the strongest sellers in 2001 and look to maintain market dominance throughout the balance of 2002, said Slaughter. A combination of low pricing and breadth of product have helped drive sales in this resolution.

Slaugher noted that despite the hit that cameras in the sub $100 range took in 2001, this market will recover once 1-megapixel and higher cameras dip into this price point. The category will be resurrected once feature rich models from major manufacturers hit the sub $100 price point, Slaughter said.

Based on total unit sales in 2001, Sony remained the market leader, Olympus continued in second, while Hewlett-Packard and Kodak came in third. The study indicated that 2002 will see more digital camera vendors, like Canon, Nikon and Minolta, try to challenge the first-tier vendors by extending product lines and ramping up promotions.

In a separate report on photo kiosks, InfoTrends claimed that nearly half of all kiosks to be shipped in 2002 will be designed exclusively for digital camera users, a dramatic change from last year when only 16 percent of photo kiosk shipments were digital camera exclusive.

‘As digital camera users begin to use photo kiosks, print volumes on photo kiosks will increase dramatically,’ said research analyst Kerry Flatley. ‘Our research shows that currently photo kiosks are mainly used by customers making just a few copies or enlargements from prints. Digital camera customers, on the other hand, will use photo kiosks as a high-volume source for their original photo prints.’

While the print volume at photo kiosks will increase, InfoTrends predicts that the growth in the installed base of photo kiosks will be modest, reaching 33,000 in 2006. Sales of replacement units will contribute to an 8 percent compound annual growth rate in unit shipments.

According to InfoTrends, future photo kiosk developments will include placement in more convenient locations, faster print speeds, and connectivity to the Internet or to local digital minilab equipment. The report also noted that photofinishing retailers will increasingly adopt in-store digital minilabs to print images from digital camera memory cards. Unit shipments of digital minilabs are expected to double this year as more retailers make the transition from analog to digital technology, InfoTrends predicted.